Typhoon Yolanda aftermath 365 days later: More protest against Aquino government’s failure

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Devastation in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where Yolanda/Haiyan first hit land. (AFP Central Command photo)
Devastation in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where Yolanda/Haiyan first hit land. (AFP Central Command photo)

By Joey Natividad

CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 7Nov2014 (BicolToday.com) – Protests shall be greeting the Aquino government during the first observance of Typhoon Yolanda’s massive disaster in central Visayas on November 8, last year, reports reached online news Bicol Today.com Friday.

The Aquino government performance showed that out of the thousands rendered homeless, only 364 houses were built by the government a year after the tragedy.

Only 213 classrooms were built out of the 19,648 destroyed by typhoon Yolanda.

Thousands of storm survivors from Visayas and Mindanao shall be converging in various protest activities in Tacloban on Friday, a day before the anniversary of the landfall of super typhoon Yolanda.

About 20,000 people are expected to join protests tomorrow, November 8, against the “continuing negligence, government corruption and anti-people rebuilding plan.”

The first day of the “Global Surge” was marked by a fluvial protest, a student walkout, and a thousand-torch march.

Yesterday, hundreds of disaster survivors held a national conference and formed “Daluyong,” a national network of disaster survivors.

“A year after Yolanda, the Aquino government’s crimes against the disaster survivors have become more glaring. No notable relief and rehabilitation has been done, calamity funds are being pocketed by government officials while big corporations are set to benefit from the ‘rebuilding’ plans,” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of youth group Anakbayan, one of the organizers of the protests.

They also lambasted Aquino for avoiding and disrespecting the victims by not visiting Tacloban.

Tacloban was the hardest-hit city during Yolanda, where the registered death toll was more than 2,000. Tacloban’s cost of damage was P202.67 million.

Ang tumatakbo, yung takot sa tao, ay yung may tinatago at yung guilty. The Aquino administration’s crimes against the people of Tacloban continues until now,” Crisostomo said.

Anakbayan also assailed Aquino’s implementation of the No-Build Zone Policy, substandard relocation program, late and spoiled relief goods distribution.

“The Aquino administration aggravated the suffering of the typhoon victims by denying them of their right to reconstruct their homes and transferring them to overpriced substandard bunkhouses, so that Aquino’s rich friends like the Ayalas can grab the land for their business. The late distribution of the relief goods further intensified the suffering of the victims. Most of the relief goods that were distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development were rotten and spoiled,” he said.

Citing data from IBON foundation, Crisostomo said it is “infuriating that only 364 houses were built by the government a year after the tragedy.”

“That is only 0.03% of the 1,200,000 houses destroyed by the storm. Only 213 classrooms were built out of the 19,648 destroyed. Aquino should definitely explain to the people where the billions for reconstruction went,” he said.

Anakbayan also assailed the government “masterplan” as “disaster capitalism for Aquino cronies” where big corporations are set to benefit and said agriculture and agrarian reform are neglected in the government plan. The group also condemned the use of the tragedy to further militarize the typhoon- affected areas.

“As AFP presence increased in the typhoon devastated areas, cases of military harassment, theft and other human rights abuses were reported. Peasant leaders Jefferson Custodio in Carigara, Leyte and Rodolfo Basada in Pinbacdao, Samar, have been killed by suspected state elements,” Crisostomo said.

More protests are set to call for justice and accountability.

“Disaster survivors want Aquino out of the Palace. The biggest national tragedy is the anti-people, corrupt, criminal and insensitive haciendero- government. More disasters will happen under this system and it is up to the people to struggle for change,” he said. [BicolToday.com]

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